Nigeria: Teenage ‘shisha’ video reinforces need to ban sale of tobacco near schools

Nigeria: Teenage ‘shisha’ video reinforces need to ban sale of tobacco near schools

A non-governmental organisation, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), has commended the Lagos State government over its decision to rehabilitate the five students smoking ‘shisha’ in a recent viral video on social media.

The group, however, urged the state government to complement the action by enforcing the ban on the sale of tobacco products near schools as contained in the National Tobacco Control Act 2015.

The group said the disturbing video, which trended on social media last week, was widely condemned by Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, who called for sanctions against the pupils and their parents.

Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Education, Tokunbo Wahab, had said appropriate steps were being taken to address the issue with the aim of preventing future occurrence in the state .

He blamed parents for their negligence, insisting that everything should not be left to the government and schools.

In a statement issued in Lagos by Director of Programmes at CAPPA, Philip Jakpor, the group said while the Lagos government action was in good stead, the government has a bigger share of the blame for failing to enforce the NTC Act 2015 and National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019.

It also berated the Lagos State government for failing to implement the recommendations of a national research, which exposed the insidious strategy that the tobacco industry uses to introduce school children to smoking.

The research, entitled: ‘Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets: Tobacco Companies Targeting of School Children in Nigeria,’ released in 2017, showed that tobacco companies strategically situate tobacco products and advertisements near primary and secondary schools with the aim of enticing kids to experiment smoking. The study was conducted in Lagos, Enugu, Oyo, Nassarawa and Kaduna states.

Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “We can see clearly that our kids are the innocent victims of an industry that manipulates the minds of the youth to ensure they take to the smoking habit. As we had noticed in the study, there is a deliberate display of tobacco products near sweets and drinks, making them easily accessible.”

Oluwafemi explained that the school pupil’s incident is only a tip of the iceberg as the industry continues to innovate on how to grab the lungs of the younger generation.

“Beyond point of sale near schools, we are also witnessing a shocking upsurge in indigenous movies and music videos that glamourize smoking and these are happening right before our eyes and in front of our kids.”

Source: The Guardian